Even though e-commerce has seen AMAZING growth, we still can’t take customers’ safety and preferences for granted in the new normal. Customers’ smallest shopping habits have changed, and so should the shopping experience!
Let’s take a quick look at how the online shopping experience has impacted customer habits from times pre-COVID.
For Shopify store owners, the pandemic has brought amazing growth but also plenty of challenges. A lot of consumers that weren’t shopping online at all are now regular eCommerce customers, but there is also more competition and way too many shipping troubles.
So how do you address your challenges and stay sensitive to customers? And what safety measures do you need to ensure you continue in the new normal?
As a Shopify store owner, the safety and satisfaction of your customers come first, especially during these times.
Here’s a list of some measures you need to be taking as we find ourselves in the grips of the 2nd wave:
1. Open communication
Customers have a lot more questions today than they did pre-COVID. The more upfront you are about your limitations and shortcomings, the more they’ll trust you! Here are a few examples of how to talk about your COVID-19 limitations openly:
a. Delayed shipping - “We’re experiencing shipping delays of up to X days all across the continental United States at the moment. We’ll always keep you posted about your order, but we request you to please be patient with us as we navigate these difficult times!”
b. Limited services - “Unfortunately, due to limited collaboration with our partners, we won’t be able to offer personalization at the moment.”
c. Delays in support - “We’ve received your request for XYZ. Unfortunately, due to reduced staffing and supply, it will take a little longer to fulfill than usual. Please allow us X days to get back to you with a confirmation.”
2. Plenty of shipping updates
Shipping times are up for debate everywhere, but customers still need to know when they can expect their order or what’s going wrong! As a small business owner, you should proactively keep your customers posted about delays in their shipping.
3. Safety-first packaging
Go out of your way to keep packaging safe and hygienic and make sure your customers know it! Update your website with the different safety measures you might be taking to ensure your products are safely packaged and shipped.
Shameless plug: We see a lot of Shopify stores using our product labels to provide information on safety standards.
4. Maximum marketing
There are SO many new online stores today! Your challenge is to make your store and your products stand out from the rest so you can pull more customers into your store. That happens when you have an amazing brand, a beautiful product website (with some eye-catching product labels!), and an excellent social media presence.
Once you’ve taken care of these, your next question is going to be: how much of this do you continue into the next several months, where is all this really going? That’s where the new normal comes in.
Customers that have discovered online shopping at this time are now an entirely new audience that didn’t exist in e-commerce before. All the people who weren’t comfortable shopping for groceries online now buy all their daily necessities online. Even customers who do enter physical stores aim to get in and out as fast as possible.
These ‘new normal’ habits are going to continue for the foreseeable future, so you need to plan accordingly!
Practices to continue and practices to start in the new normal:
1. Continue to prioritize safety
Even as people start getting a little tired of social distancing, wearing masks, and constantly washing up, your store needs to be as proactive with the safety game as it is today. Don’t let your standards drop!
2. Realign business priorities
You may find that some products/services that were popular pre-COVID didn’t do as well when the pandemic set in. You’ll need to keep analyzing what’s working for your store as the situation progresses and customer behavior keeps evolving.
3. Get used to BOPIS
If you operated with a physical store or out of a physical location earlier, start preparing one of the biggest trends to have come out of the COVID-19 retail landscape: Buy Online, Pick up In Store
This allows customers the convenience of a quicker shopping experience without really needing to spend time at a store.
4. Stay agile
Changes in customer behavior are on a fast track so you’ll be seeing a lot of microtrends and a lot of changing preferences. Don’t let your store fall behind! Make sure you’re following what’s happening in the retail landscape and stay an active part of the Shopify community.
Secret sauce: Staying customer-focused no matter what
This is what the present looks like and the future is going to look like for e-commerce, so it’s a good time to get going on some of these measures! Remember that running a business is tough for everyone at this time, so you just need to hang in there and be there for your customers.
Are you ready to take the Shopify world by storm in the new normal? We sure hope so!